Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Reason show notes from Wednesday ...

A little bit about me ... The following is my show notes from my inaugural edition of Reason on Hometown 1230, WECK.

I believe that the Constitution of the United States is not just a document&183; It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law and should be followed to the letter. It’s not something that some powdered wig guys came up with while tokin’ out. And it’s not outdated.

I believe that the Bill of Rights may be the most important sentences ever written on parchment, paper, or anything else for that matter. I believe that each and every one is universally relevant. The right to free speech, religion and assembly. The right for individuals to own guns. The right to keep your home yours – and not be forced to turn it into military housing. The right to privacy in that home ... or car ... or whereever you may be ... the right to not incriminate yourself – also known as the right to remain silent ... something I’ll be waiving regularly here. The right to quick justice. The right to be judged by your peers. The prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and punitive bail. The statement of fact that the Constitution is designed to give rights ... not deny them. And that each state in the union has power. And states – and their people come first.

I also believe – unfortunately – that the Constitution and subsequent amendments – including the all-important Bill of Rights – are treated as though it’s just something that some powdered wig guys came up with while tokin’ out. We hear all to regularly, especially from the executive branch of the government – no matter who’s in charge ... but especially lately ... that these documents ... the foundation of our Republic ... are outdated and misunderstood. We hear that they meant free speech ... but not REALLY free speech. We hear that they meant bear arms ... but only muskets or pointy sticks. We hear that the war on terrorism ... or the war on drugs ... or the war on crime ... or the war on red-headed talk show hosts ... takes precidence over privacy. That our founding fathers didn’t have these problems, so they couldn’t understand. And we hear that power and freedom flows from the federal government downward ... and that the states should consider themselves lucky to be a part of the whole. And that as citizens if we don’t like it we should get out. I hear almost daily right wing whack jobs on radio and television admonish anyone who would dissent. But I believe that dissent truly is the highest form of patriotism. And having enough pride in your country to want to fix the wrongs makes you a true patriot.

I believe that the vast majority of politicians start their political career with good intentions. Cleaning up government. Cutting taxes. Increasing services. Making sure their constituents get what they pay for. Holding the line. Holding themselves and others accountable. I also believe that somewhere along the line, the vast majority of politicians get drunk with power and those good intentions slowly – or sometimes quickly – fade. I believe it’s the system that corrupts them. A freshman legislator, congressman, city councilor, whatever. They come in bright eyed and hoping to change the world. And they’ve got a plan. They want a new park, for example, so that underpriveledged people in their district will have a clean place to play ... or relax ... or whathaveyou. And a senior legislator pulls them aside and says, "hey that park idea you got is a good plan. But I don’t think you’ll have the votes for it. I can help you get those votes. All you have to do in exchange is vote for my bill that increases pollution levels ... or gives tax breaks to oil companies ... or legalizes animal abuse ... or whatever." They trade votes and the downward spiral is on. In order to really fix things, we’d have to clean house. All of em. Every legislator. Every congressman. Now, there are some good politicians. Those who have stuck to their ideals. But how do you know which is which? We all seem to think that our representative is good. It’s the other’s that are bums. And other people think their representative’s are good ... it’s our that’s a bum. That’s why we can’t be selective. Or as Thomas Jefferson put it - "Every generation needs a new revolution."

I believe that all politics is local. And every vote of the US Congress will affect us right here in Buffalo. That’s why I plan to talk about those votes and highlight what I think is good and bad. I’ll have representatives on this show from Congress. From the state Senate. The Assembly. The Erie County Legislature. The Buffalo Common Council. The mayor’s office. Heck, I might have a dog catcher once in a while ... cause I believe the blue collar man – the work a day stiff – is the real hero. Without them, the world might just stop spinning. In fact, I have an open invitation to elected officials ... and the phone lines are always open for comment ... from everyone. Oh, but there is one person you’re not likely to hear on my show. You may hear him on WECK, but not with me. Congressman Tom Reynolds.

I believe that Tom Reynolds epitomizes what is wrong with America ... and nothing of what is RIGHT with America. You may recall a few years ago, Vice President Dick Cheney came into Buffalo for a fundraiser. And the cash strapped city of Buffalo had to cough up some $100,000 in overtime for police protection in order for the GOP to hold this fundraiser. In the days that followed, I had Tom Reynolds on my OTHER Talk show – Dialog on our brother station, AM 1340, WLVL. I had the audacity to ask him why the taxpayers of Buffalo should pony up a hundred grand for a RNC fund raiser. Reynolds isn’t used to being asked real questions ... and he didn’t like mine. And he hasn’t talked to me since. In fact, he’s publicly bad mouthed me. Well ... if you’re defined by your enemies, I must be a hell of a guy.

I believe that Eliot Spitzer could have been something great. He had the capacity. He had the brains. He had the charisma. And he had a mandate from voters. And in his first year if office, he learned that Albany is not Wall Street. And he used his bully pulpit as a bully ... and the rot in the capital ate him up and chewed him out. And this week, he’s learning that you can’t spend $80,000 on hookers and get away with it. Not even Eliot Spitzer is above the law. And he apparently isn’t as smart as we thought he is.

I expect a chorus of people calling for resignation ... if not beheading ... but I’m really interested in the people who want Eliot Spitzer ... the emperor who TRULY wears no clothes ... to stick around. What do you think he can do? Why do you want him to stay in office? Why aren’t you ashamed of him.

Oh, one last thing ... Feel free to disagree with me. On any issue. Any day. Don’t be afraid that you’ll get lambasted and hung up on like you see happen elsewhere. Dissent is encouraged. The name of the show, of course, is Reason ... and I’m a pretty reasonable guy. And I’m not too proud or too bullheaded to change my opinion on something when someone makes a good argument for me to do so.